Request a prison visit

Request a prison visit

Request a prison visit, Requesting a prison visit in the UK is a process that requires understanding the system and following specific steps. This guide will walk you through how to book a prison visit, what to expect, and why maintaining family ties through these visits is crucial for a prisoner’s rehabilitation.

Booking a Prison Visit

To request a prison visit, you’ll need to be on the prisoner’s approved visitor list. Once you’re approved, you can book a visit in one of the following ways:

  1. Online Booking: Many UK prisons offer an online booking system. You’ll need to provide your details, the prisoner’s details, and choose a suitable date and time for your visit.

  2. Telephone Booking: If online booking isn’t available or you prefer speaking to someone, you can call the prison’s visit booking line. The staff will guide you through the process.

  3. Visiting Order (VO): In some cases, you might receive a VO from the prisoner, which you’ll need to present when booking your visit.

Frequency of Prison Visits

The frequency of visits a prisoner is allowed can vary depending on the prison and the prisoner’s category. Some may be entitled to weekly visits, while others might have less frequent opportunities. Check with the specific prison for their regulations.

Request a prison visit

Request a prison visit

Duration of Visits

The length of prison visits usually ranges from one to two hours. This can vary based on the prison’s rules and the type of visit (e.g., standard, extended, or special visits).

What is a Prison Visit Like?

Prison visits take place in a visit hall, which is a designated area within the prison. These halls are typically large rooms with tables and chairs where prisoners and their visitors can sit and talk. Some visit halls may have a play area for children and vending machines for snacks and drinks.

Preparing for a Prison Visit

Before your visit, ensure you have valid identification and are aware of the prison’s dress code. Arrive early to allow time for security checks, and be prepared for a search of your person and belongings. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules regarding what items you can bring.

The Importance of Prison Visits

Prison visits play a vital role in maintaining family ties and supporting a prisoner’s rehabilitation. They provide emotional support, help preserve relationships, and can significantly impact a prisoner’s well-being and outlook on life. These visits are also essential for preparing prisoners for reintegration into society upon release.

The Prison Visit Hall

The visit hall is designed to facilitate interaction between prisoners and their visitors. While it’s a controlled environment, efforts are made to make it as welcoming as possible. The layout allows for private conversations, and staff are usually present to ensure safety and order.

The Process of a Prison Visit

Upon arrival, visitors typically go through the following process:

  1. Check-In: Present your ID and visiting order (if applicable) at the reception.

  2. Security Checks: You’ll undergo security screening, which may include a search and passing through a metal detector.

  3. Entering the Visit Hall: Once cleared, you’ll be directed to the visit hall where you’ll meet the prisoner.

  4. During the Visit: Engage in conversation, offer support, and make the most of your time together.

  5. End of the Visit: When the visit concludes, prisoners and visitors are usually asked to leave separately.


Requesting a prison visit in the UK is a straightforward process that can have a profound impact on a prisoner’s life. By understanding how to book a visit, what to expect, and the importance of these visits, you can provide invaluable support to your loved one during their incarceration. Remember, while the environment may be controlled, the connection and communication you share during these visits can be a powerful force for positive change.